Helping Community Partners Build Capacity within Integrated Behavioral Health

A Call to Action for Social Work Education


  • Nora Padykula Westfield state university
  • Julie Berrett-Abebe
  • Terri Haven



Integrated behavioral health, training needs, social work, interprofessional team


Social workers are recent additions to integrated health care teams; therefore, there is emerging literature about the work experiences and training needs of social workers in integrated settings. After receiving a Health Resources Services Administration-Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (HRSA-BHWET) integrated behavioral health (IBH) grant, our social work program conducted a survey among our social work field education sites to determine training needs. Results of the needs assessment revealed that a lack of clarity exists about what is meant by integrated behavioral health as well as ways to measure and interpret levels of integration within social work field education sites. Barriers to collaboration and areas of needed training revealed gaps in knowledge and workforce readiness for providing integrated care. Recommendations include using a bidirectional level of integration conceptual framework to support greater participation of social workers and social service agencies in integrated care, in addition to specific curricular and continuing education training opportunities. Social work educators are afforded a unique opportunity to support our field education partners in reviewing and enhancing their systems of care as they continue to train future social workers.


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